A Sample Business Plan for a Small Business May Not Be the Best Way

You can find a sample business plan for a small business in all kinds of formats. There is a sample business plan for a small business where you basically fill in the blanks or you can have access to a sample business plan for a small business where you can pattern yours from it or you can develop a business plan that is centered on what you want for your dreams and your life.

I don’t know of better way than to let your business give you what you want for your lifestyle. Whether it’s a sample business plan for a small business or one where your business gives you a plan, it should tell you what is needed to take you where you want to go and when and how you can get there and it should be in clear simple terms, supported with all the specifics.

So using a sample business plan for a small business is just one of many ways to make a business plan but frankly I think designing one that will have your business give you exactly what you want is by far the best way.

So, why not start out with what you would like to have in life for you and your family? Then develop a business plan that could show you exactly what your business would need to do to give you that life style. If you think about it, there is no other way where you have more control over what you want in life than letting your own business do it for you. If you work for someone else, you’re sure not going to have as much control over your future.

So how would you go about making a plan like this? Well if you know a fair amount about business, you can. It will take some special calculations and some work but if you know how to put together a Profit & Loss Statement, you can probably do it.

You would first do a P&L for the present year for your existing business and the first year and as many years after as you would like to have your plan cover. Your existing business financials will be the foundation for building yourself a business plan for as many years out as you want. This data will tell you a number of things but first if you want to build your plan around what you want in life, you would need to decide some things about your life:

1. You would need to decide how much income you would like to have for yourself for each of the years you plan for.
2. You would need to determine what kind of profit margin you would want from your business for each of the years.
3. And by combining these 2 things into a P&L format you can develop a financial business plan that can extend as for into the future as you would like.
4. The first thing it will show you is how much sales you would need each year to give you the income and profit you would like. Once you see the sales needed, if you know your business well enough, you should be able to estimate those additional expenses needed to overcome capacity constraints that will occur as your business grows.

With this information you can actually predict not only what your sales will be, but you can see how much your fixed and variable expenses will be, what your labor cost will be, your material cost, and your profit.

1. So let’s first look at what exactly are fixed expenses? They are exactly what they say they are; they are fixed. This simply means these are expenses that are ongoing whether you have a lot of sales or “0” sales. They are expenses like utilities, taxes, rent, salaries other than the wages used in the making of the actual product or doing a service, business fees, telephone, etc. See how these expenses would continue on even if you have 0 sales? Any expenses that fall into this category are fixed expenses. Far too many small business owners never divide their expenses into fixed and variable. As a matter of fact, if you could have a business that had “0” fixed expenses; this would be the best of all worlds, why? If you had “0” sales, you would have “0” expenses. So the closer you could get to this the better you would be.

2. Variable expenses are those expenses that track directly with sales. If sales stop they stop. These are expenses like supplies used to support in the making of your product or doing your service. Such things as shipping cost for raw materials for your product or service. If you have no sales then you’re not going to be purchasing materials so your shipping cost for those materials will stop as well. As an example, if you have a lawn mowing business and there are no lawns to mow, then you wouldn’t be buying gasoline to travel to your lawn mowing site. These kinds of things are variable expenses. If you’re producing a product, it would include supplies used to produce that product like sand paper, glue, finishing materials, cutting tools, etc.

3. Labor and material costs are also directly proportionate to sales. These are things that go directly into the making of the product or into doing the service.

a. Labor cost is the actual direct labor used in the making of product or doing the service. The cost would also include all the fringe benefits like social security, payroll taxes, vacation pay, holidays, sick pay days, etc.
b. Material costs are all the materials used in the making of product or in doing the service. In the lawn mower service as an example it would be the gasoline used in the mower and any other materials used directly in that service. For producing a product it would be all the materials used in the product that is sent to the customer including all the packaging materials.

Average Selling Price

Now when you calculate your average selling price which is your cost of sales (material + labor) divided by (1-gross profit), you can determine how many customers you would need and then come up with what you think your conversion rate would be for converting leads to customers, you can determine how many leads you would need. Then from this and with the aid of the U.S. Census Bureau and some basic research on your own you can actually have a pretty decent idea of what size your market is and is going to be in the future so you can see if it will support your business plan or not.

So if you can put this all together, you can have a complete business operating plan that would show you exactly what your business would need to do to give you the income and profit you would like to have and a rough idea whether your market would support it or not. All you would have left to do would be to figure out how to make it all happen.

It’s like planning backwards.

1. Determine what you want in life
2. Figure out what your business would need to do to give you that life.
3. Figure out how long it would take you to reach it.
4. Figure out how big of a market it would take each of the years you’re planning for.
5. Then see if that market is big enough.

Isn’t this a much better way to go about planning your business? Shouldn’t your business be designed to give you want you want instead of you working yourself to death just hoping for the best?

So how would you go about calculating all this?

There is quite a bit of calculations and you should know a little about business principles but it isn’t that complicated. So first let’s look at figuring out your future needed sales with this formula:

Projected sales = fixed expenses divided by (1-(var exp % of existing sales + mat cost % of existing sales + lab cost % of existing sales + desired net prof %))

So, let’s say you existing sales is $850,000 annually, your fixed expenses are $275,000, variable expenses is $55,000 or 6.5% of the $850,000, material cost is $236,000 or 27.8%, labor cost is $109,000 or 12.8%, and your existing profit margin is $175,000 or 20.6%.

Now let’s say next year you want to have a profit margin of 25% so what would your sales need to be to give you that profit margin? Now you might think you would simply tack on 4.4% more to sales (25% – 20.6%) and you would have it. Well not quiet. it doesn’t work that way because you are going to have the additional variable expenses, material cost, and labor cost too. Remember, the more sales the more each of these expenses and cost will be.

So here is how you would do it:

Projected sales = fixed exp ($275,000) divided by 1-(6.5% + 27.8% + 12.8% + 25% (your new profit margin) = $896,057 (new sales)

You can do this for as many years out as you want. Obviously this is based on your first year’s fixed expenses remaining constant and no consideration of depreciation, inflation, or taxes.

But most likely you would need to increase your fixed expenses because you’re going to probably have more rent, utilities, or such as your business grows. So, you would simple put in your new fixed expense number in place of the existing one for each of the years you would be planning for.

So, you see if you decided you wanted a 35% profit margin at year 5 then you could see how much sales it would take to give you that.

Now it’s also important to know how many more customers you would need as well so you should always look at that unless you have another way of growing your sales other than with new customers.

Let’s say your average selling price for your service is $925.50 and you have one transaction per year per customer.

Using that first years sales example we used above, you would calculate it this way.

$896,057 divided by $925.50 = 968 customers needed for the year. Now if your average transactions per customer are more than 1, then you would need fewer customers. As an example, let’s say your average transaction per customers per year is 2.5 then 968 divided by 2.5 = 387 customers per year.

Now let’s say you estimate your conversation rate to be 3% of turning leads into paying customers with the advertising method you’re going to use, how many leads would need to contact to get 387 customers? Simply divide 387 by 3% and you get 12,909 leads you’re going to need to contact.

Then the question is; is your market going to be big enough to provide you with 12,909 leads for the next year and how many will you need each of the following years?

It may be easier than you think to figure this out. You would do some research and with the aid of the U.S. Census Bureau you can roughly determine whether your plan can be supported by your market or not.

So what do you think? Is it better to build a business plan around what you want in life then see how your business can maybe give you that or is it better to use a sample business plan for a small business where you are probably guessing?

38 of my 41 years were in management and leadership roles. Some of my disciplines were manufacturing operations and processes, quality systems including ISO, materials, supply chain logistics, engineering, purchasing, HR functions including union and nonunion operations, concurrent engineering from product design to the customer, and upper management, and supervision training. Experiences also included a number of special projects such as managing plant shutdowns, project director of facility relocations including feasibility studies, designing of lean manufacturing concepts for new operations, development and startup of new facilities, plant and process moves to new locations, and hiring and training of staffs and workforces for new locations.
All the years in those various positions offered great opportunities for leading, teaching, training, and hands on support for empowering managers and workforces. Environments were created that made it possible for people to reach levels of success they never thought possible. Success came because of the use of real leadership, lean principles, employee involvement, a trusting environment, good communication, continuous improvement, and solid operating systems. The results were people working toward an error free workplace, waste reduction, and a very positive attitude toward meeting goals and expectations. This resulted in labor content reductions, major reductions in labor turnover, major increases in inventory turns, reductions in cycle times, improved customer relations, strong teams, and improved employee satisfaction. I have had the good fortune to have practiced and proven that creating the right environment will cause people to want to participate in helping organizations meet their goals and visions because it is an environment that lets them build success for themselves as well helping everyone else build theirs. I believe strongly that you cannot motivate people but that the right environment is what motivates people.

Overworked, Overstressed, Too Busy to Get Organized – How to Transform a Growing Business

I can see it coming. Maybe I’m developing a sixth sense for it. I run an operations management business and I regularly get calls from business owners saying; “I need your help. My business is taking off and I feel like I’m losing control”. The first question I ask always seems to be the toughest for them… When can we get together to talk? I’ve learned to anticipate that they will cancel one or two appointments before we’re actually able to meet. I plan for our first meeting to be away from their office so I am able to get their full attention.

Their business has typically been operating for three to five years, which means their business model is working for them and has begun gaining traction. They’ve passed the infant mortality point where many new businesses fail and have had some taste of success. They’re now at the point where they’re starting to think about taking their business to the next growth plateau.

The business operates in a mostly ad hoc mode. Up to this point they’ve managed to keep things on track by shear force. They’re beginning to realize that they can’t do everything themselves and they continue to hold things close because they feel they have to maintain control by personally making every decision. They’re not willing to delegate anything but the most trivial tasks. “My entire life is tied up in this business and it’s succeeding because of the energy I put into it.” They have in fact become the operations infrastructure of their business and they’re beginning to realize that they have now become the primary constraint on the growth of their business. Take a vacation, a sick day, a coffee break… Not likely!

Transforming these businesses requires an objective look at two areas: their organization and their operations. I start slowly by trying to find some activities the owner is willing to offload to others.

Businesses at this point in their development are usually organized on the “Conestoga Model”, meaning their organization chart looks like a wagon wheel. It’s a person centric organization model where the owner has become the hub of the wheel with all of the other functions circling around the hub. They may have made some attempt to change things themselves but I often find they were unsuccessful because they delegated responsibility without being willing to also delegate the authority to do the job.

The next step I take with clients in these situations is to begin transforming their organization to a more traditional hierarchical model. This is a difficult step for them because it means they have to be willing to delegate the authority to complete tasks along with the responsibility for completing them.

Completing the organizational change requires more than simply creating an organization chart. The new organization has to be designed to meet the businesses needs and to make best use of the resources at hand. Each block on the organization chart should have a defined mission statement and a set of goals. Owners who are already over burdened often revolt at the thought of doing all of this “useless paperwork”. “We have real work to do.” This a great place to recommend they bring in their new first line managers or supervisors to help and it also lets these people take ownership of their new roles. This is the point where I usually have to expand my role from working with the owner to working with their staff. Including the first level managers and supervisors in these activities has an amazing effect on the culture of most businesses once the staff realizes that the owner is saying I trust you and am relying on you to help grow my business. Kicking off the new organization can be difficult. “You mean I work for her now? But I used to work for the owner.” You have to plan to hold a lot of hands and mend some hurt feelings as you go through this exercise.

After the organization is in place you need to define a sustaining operations infrastructure for the business. You do this by assessing the businesses operations, identifying weak areas needing definition or improvement. I begin this by formalizing the workflows of the business. Remember, the operations infrastructure has to be able to support the restructured business in the future. I divide the operations infrastructure into the nine areas described below. Each area controls a major workflow through the business so, by definition, each infrastructure area crosses organizational boundaries. Don’t, for instance, limit the sales and marketing infrastructure to the sales and marketing department.

CUSTOMER SATISFACTION: The customer satisfaction infrastructure has to be designed as an integral part of the business operations and not simply included like a facade over the front door. Every employee needs to learn their customer satisfaction role. The customer satisfaction infrastructure defines the role of functions such as product support, requirements definition, and quality assurance.

PRODUCTION/SERVICES: The production/services infrastructure defines the methods that will be used for the delivery of all products and services and ensure that this is being done in a safe, compliant, and consistent manner capable of bringing all products and services fully to market.

INFORMATION MANAGEMENT: It would be a tremendous understatement to say that all businesses today are information intensive. The information management infrastructure includes the IT systems but can be much wider in scope.The information management infrastructure defines the methods for protecting all business data, the electronic tools that form the backbone of the business, printed material and all media that is used to support the business. All personal privacy and security controls need to be addresses here.

SALES AND MARKETING: The sales and marketing infrastructure supports the businesses primary goal; to sell products and make a profit. It defines the methods used for everything from pricing and lead flow needed to support the sales pipeline to the methods used to develop new products and markets including the use of competitive and strategic analysis as assessment tools.

ORGANIZATIONAL: The definition of the organizational infrastructure includes the formal and informal structure of the business. It includes the organization chart that forms the command and control structure plus the informal structure that becomes the culture of the business.

PERSONNEL: The personnel infrastructure defines the working relationship between the business and its employees and between employees including the roles and authority of the management team. It defines the benefit strategy and compensation plan plus the procedures for hiring, firing and everything in between.

FINANCIAL OPERATIONS: The financial operations infrastructure forms the framework for all financial operations of the business. It defines all financial authority and controls including AP/AR, payroll, cost account and project management, plus the definition of methods to be used for budgeting and projections.

LEGAL OPERATIONS: The legal operations infrastructure forms the framework for all legal operations of the business. It defines all legal authority, professional licensing and controls needed to support the business on a continuing basis. It defines all activities used to protect the business from legal risk and liabilities and to ensure the compliant operation of the business.

INSTITUTIONALIZED PROCESSES: The institutionalized processes infrastructure includes the definition of all formalized policies, procedures and methods that guide the businesses operations. Methods such as ISO, CMMI, Six Sigma, Enterprise Risk Management (ERM), Lean or Quality Management Systems (QMS) where the business needs certification to qualify for a market driven process are defined.

It is important that the infrastructure areas be documented but this doesn’t mean it has to be a voluminous set of policies and procedures or that it has to be completed overnight. The infrastructure needs to be formalized to be effective and repeatable but applying the “Keep It Simple” approach works well here. Complex procedures don’t get read so plan to start light and build as needed in the future. After base lining each of the infrastructure areas (and training employees on their use) the final step is to establish a continuous process improvement program so that the infrastructure will continue to evolve along with the business.

The actions described in this article can be intense for a small business because it strikes at its culture. The cost of transitioning the business to support its next level of growth will be offset by the improved efficiency and through the resulting decrease in operations risk. It may not be an immediate goal of the owner but these steps are an excellent way to position the business for a future M&A event or to raise investment funds to support the additional growth.

16 Secrets to Finding a Legitimate Work at Home Business The Average Person Can Do!

What are the secrets to finding a legitimate work at home business the average person can really benefit from. There are at least 16 secrets to finding a legitimate work at home business for women or men. If you’re just starting to look into the work at home world or have some experience; don’t launch into something with all your heart and effort to later be disappointed.

A good checklist will help you avoid a lot of wasted time, money, energy and nightmares.

This checklist will help you to make most of the crucial decisions before launching your work from home business. In fact some of these secrets you will remember for the rest of your home business or Internet business career.

Money can be made on the Internet, and lots of it! In fact unlimited! When I began doing my investigating of home businesses; I was able to rub shoulders and visit the homes of home business marketers making anywhere between $20,000 a month and up to $50,000 a month. They are generally those who have become very experienced, but you can find programs that you can get into right away and make $1000 to $10,000 a month or more which can be accomplished by women or men despite education or time constraints.

“Someone said, you can work for a living or you can work part time for a Fortune.”

If you will study these home business secrets, you will discover the principles you will need to make a part-time fortune.

1. Tangible Product That Is Needed in Today’s World. Concentrate on programs or products that are needed by most people in today’s world. The best product is one that needs to be purchased monthly! Think of a product that most people need to replace, re-use or purchase on a monthly basis. For example, toilet paper. You definitely need that every day. I often wonder how many wealthy toilet paper tycoons there are?

There are many great products and services to promote in a home business. You can earn big commissions to sell them. HOWEVER, would it be better to make a $39 profit just one time, or a $10 profit over and over again indefinitely?

It has been well said, that when you sell a product that will pay you only once, you are making money that is going to benefit the company more than yourself. But, if you sell a product over and over again, month after month you are making an income that is going to benefit you.

Let’s use weight loss as an example since I myself promote a weight loss and health product. If you’re selling a number one weight loss product in North America and it needs to be purchased every month you only need to make one sale and reap the benefits over and over again. When you gain a customer, you have a monthly reoccurring sale for the effort of the initial sale.

2. The Truth about Free Home Businesses. There is no such thing as a free business!

Despite all the hogwash you read about making $1 million and never spending a dime; ladies and gentlemen, it might happen once in a million years! But don’t hold your breath!

It’s always going to take some money to make money on the Internet or with a legitimate home business that you can be proud of working. The good thing is it takes a whole lot less to start a work from home job. Also, even though you can join almost any Internet program FREE; realize it only gets you in the door; and without benefits to actually make a financial profit. Normally, you get what you pay for.

The Internet world is so jam packed with opportunities, if you look around you can find most of the components that you would need for successful business. But it takes some work. You have to know WHERE to look, WHAT to look for and HOW to put it together. Often times than not, the learning curve can be very involved.

So whatever you do, you’re going to have to invest some money in the form of cash or time. Cash can help you shorten the time and time can help you use less cash. You will have to determine where to balance the time and money you put in.

3. Do Not to Put All Your Investments in One “Boat.”

The best home businesses entrepreneurs will diversify their businesses. Getting involved in a program or selling a product with multiple sources of income is what you want to have! If your business has more avenues of income, it will be more stable and you will be less likely to go under.

Can you imagine if you invested all your time and effort in an Internet program and after one year it disappeared! But if you learn the proper way to diversify your investments, then you may only lose one arm of your business instead of the whole thing!

Considering the condition of the economy; where would it be better to place your 10 gold nuggets?

Would you put your 10 gold nuggets in one bank or would you put it in three different banks? The answer is obvious. Three banks would be the best prevention from being wiped out financially all at one time.

If you were promoting the best weight loss program in America and all of a sudden the company goes down. What do you do? Make sure you diversify and also have a plan to quickly recover any loss of monthly income

4. Why Multilevel Marketing?

Multilevel marketing, network marketing and what we have often heard as “pyramid schemes” have given home businesses a bad rap. Really, multilevel and network marketing is a concept that happens in almost every business and social organization in existence.

It’s not the system that’s wrong. It’s people who have used a perfectly legitimate business tool to use in a wrong way. It’s no different from saying that cars are a “scheme” because people are using them to transport and hide drugs as they come across the border. Does that make cars bad? Of course not.

Neither is there anything wrong with multilevel marketing and network marketing. It actually is very powerful and gives a team of people the ability to not have to work as hard and be able to make more money or have more time and freedom.

5. Why You Shouldn’t Sell Pink Toilet Seats!

Know the difference between selling and marketing.

One of the biggest mistakes many home business and Internet business owners make is not knowing the difference between selling and marketing. Most of us look for something interesting to sell, or something we like to sell and hope for the best.

However, an “internet marketer” evaluates the market and determines what products are the most popular products. Their objective is to find what’s hot and what’s not.

There is nothing wrong with taking into consideration what you have a passion for or a gift for marketing; however, don’t get stuck on promoting what suits your fancy. Most successful home businesses have learned to find hot products and market them as long as they remain hot.

6. Know for Sure Programs Work before You Invest Your Effort.

Now, that sounds like common sense; however, many new business owners concentrate on programs because it’s comfortable for them. They like them. It was the first one they learned. It’s easy to do. Easy to understand.They had enough success to make them feel good.

Many small-business owners never experience much success because they got stuck with what was comfortable.

However, you should be doing a particular business because it works well enough to produce the success that you desire.

Also, it’s very easy to get caught up in the work from home business hype. Don’t let your emotions lead you into making a decision that was not good. There are many home business gurus that are masters at making you think you have to act Now!

7. Working for Yourself but with Others.

Know that you can’t do it all by yourself!

Working alone is somewhat of a mirage. Sure, being your own boss is what work from home businesses are all about.

Everybody wants to be their own boss. Everybody’s tired of the 9-to-5 job. But even when you’re your own boss, the home business man/woman realizes that they will have to outsource, some of their work, or do joint ventures with others, and sometimes team up with others to make their business run efficiently and successfully.

8. What Do You Really Think of Your Service or Product?

Make sure to build quality into your product.

There are many businesses that have great marketing plans and vision but don’t necessarily have a quality product.

They may even make a lot of sales but because the product isn’t as good as the marketing, there is a lot of dissatisfaction.

If you are a promoter of a product that does not deliver the goods” it will have a lot of adverse effects in the short-term and long-term of your business.

It is hard to be passionate and promote something that you don’t think is of good quality. That’s why there is such a high failure rate of first-time home business entrepreneurs. They really aren’t passion about what they are promoting.

If say your weight loss program is the best in America and you know it’s not; it’s hard to have passion promoting it!

9. Have Promoters That Have Integrity.

If you are a promoter or distributor of a business which has deceptive sales practices, distributes dishonest information or is using other unethical practices; it doesn’t matter whether the company is making millionaires, the end result is not going to be good.

It is not the type of company that you would want your mom to be proud of.

10. Knowing the Leadership of a Company Can Tell You If It’s Standing on a Solid Foundation.

If you have a product that you are selling as an affiliate; investigate the leadership’s experience, education, etc.

Every consumer wants to buy a product that has quality. If it is a tangible product; the company needs enough financial stability to produce a quality product that the consumer wants to have.

Secondly, a good business will have a good foundational training program for their promoters.

Thirdly, a good business will have up-to-date technology which is important in today’s modern world. Especially with today’s social networking, Facebook, Twitter, cell phone apps and many of the other well-known social networking tools.

A good leadership will make sure these leadership qualities are part of their organization.

11. How to Keep Your People in the Business.

Your home business will have a way to encourage their promoters to stay in. You need a product that compels not only the purchaser to be a promoter but also the promoter to be a purchaser.

This is actually a very important secret that a good business should have, but is not necessarily required.

Why?

Because, if a product is really that VERSATILE, then it should not only be desired by the consumer, but even the promoter as well. If a promoter is interested in his own product, it will be that much easier to represent. There are many products with disability.

Also, if the consumer is so impressed in the purchase of the product, they will also automatically become promoters as well.

If you can find a product like this and it is a quality product; then you have probably FOUND A WINNER!

On the practical side; if promoters are compelled or even in some businesses required to consume their own product, they become more knowledgeable of their products.

When the promoters and consumers are using the product, more sales are made and everyone is benefiting because more money is being exchanged, more product is being used, and everyone is happy.

This generates much more income for the promoters and the consumers are happy also because they not only have a good product but also get additional benefits.

12. Real Freedom

Does your opportunity provides the average promoter an income that gives them the freedom they’re looking for?

So many home businesses and internet businesses do not really deliver the freedom that people are looking for. We are talking about finances as well as the freedom to have time to do more than just work.

If it does not provide the financial freedom and the freedom of time for the average promoter, it’s not a winner.

For example; the weight loss program that I personally promote works for women who have to stay in the home and can still work while taking care of family duties. It also will work for men or women in the workforce who want to work a legitimate part time business.

13. Have Products That Are Desirable for a Large Segment of the Community.

Which products do you think are easier to promote; toilet paper, cups, forks & spoons, water and food or do you think it’s easier to promote purple toilets, alkaline water machine ($2000 cost), metal chopsticks, etc.

Really, it’s not always about whether a product is good for you or not. It’s about whether it’s desirable by the consumer. Does the consumer want it? And is the consumer willing to pay the price? Sometimes the consumer wants it desperately, but not desperate enough to pay the price?

Some businesses have an extremely good quality product but the price is so undesirable that the average consumer is not willing to purchase it.

14. Rewards and Benefits.

Does your company have incentives and rewards that compel the promoters to reach higher goals. The main product that I promote does such a excellent job of this, that they have given away more incentives and rewards than most companies give out in commissions.

If you are promoting affiliate products in your home business that provide incentives and rewards that compel you to move more product you probably have found an exceptional company that has learned how to reward its promoters.

A good quality program will have built-in reward systems that inspire promoters to reach high goals.

15. Find out If the Cup and He Really Cares.

Does your program genuinely care for consumers and promoters alike. If you have any hint that your company deliberately does not put care into their promoters or consumers, jump ship!

It should be clearly evident in the marketing and the product that both the consumers and promoters are genuinely cared for.

16. Money, Money, Money.

Does your company have a compensation plan that shares profits generously..

Make sure that the compensation plan is reasonably attainable. Don’t spend one year of your life thinking you’re working a legitimate home business and find out that the amount of money you want to make is not even remotely possible. Count the cost before you start.

Most, if not all of these secrets are required for a good business. If you use this list as a guideline for evaluating legitimate work from home businesses, you are starting on the right track.

Top Tips On How to Start Your Own Home Based Internet Business and Work From Home

In the capitalist society we are today, nobody is comfortable being a mere employee who grabs only a percentage of what his/her employer earns. Everyone craves to start a lucrative business of their own. More and more management degree holders, and even novices, are raring to venture into the domain of independent business as the returns promise to be much higher. Today there are so many businesses which you can manage from the comforts of your home itself. Making money from home online is not difficult anymore. So, how to go about starting an easy work as a home business? Let us have a look on how this can be successfully accomplished.

First and foremost, we need to pen down a profound business plan as a blueprint to make things go around. Without that the very foundation of the business will not be proper as it involves the sensitive handling of money. If the monetary part goes wrong then nothing is going to be fruitful in the long run. Creating a proper legal structure and registering your organization with the respective authorities should be the next step. This aspect is very significant as it may land your company in shackles if not dealt with maturity. The next best thing is to launch an informative and engaging website for your business. In today’s socially networked world, everything goes around through the Internet. Without proper marketing and awareness creation strategies through the Internet, today’s businesses (especially legitimate work at home businesses) will not prosper at all. Therefore, as a business owner you need to hire a professional web developer to get it done for you as it requires the website to look professional, sassy, and attractive to the prospective clients.

In the initial stages of a business, the biggest challenge is to find investors. Who would be interested to fund a new business? Why should the potential investors consider you worth shelling money on, especially when you have your eyes set on work at home business opportunities? Obtaining a good amount of capital to kick-start the venture depends heavily on how clear you are about your business prospects. Try to pitch in your business plan in the edgiest way possible and this will essentially help you in impressing prospective investors. Hiring employees would be yet another concern. Which well-educated or experienced person would risk working with a company which is just starting up? Fresh graduates would not prefer that as they would not want to risk their career with something uncertain right in its beginning. As for experienced persons, they always look for better prospects, salaries, avenues, and stress-free work environments. A new company may not be able to ensure any of these as the capital would be less and work load might be concentrated on the small number of staff they must be having. Hence, it is quite an effort to convince potential employees to join your newly set up organization. One needs to put forward an impressive and alluring offer before the target individuals, in such a way that it tempts them to accept and take the ‘risk’. The offer should be couched in such a way that the employees should feel that there is something in it for them. Perhaps, impressive offers such as ‘work from home’ might attract them towards your online business.

One aspect of business which most of the newbie business men get wrong is the pricing. The right strategy needs to be chalked out for pricing the products accurately in such a way that your business does not end up in failure in the start-up stage itself. Choosing and appointing a skilled accountant to handle your finances is the best thing to do. As the owner, you may get involved with various other aspects of the business. This is when an accountant’s services would come into play. Conducting a market research prior to your plunge into the business is yet another thing that you must do. It will help you understand the market situation and what exactly the consumers desire.

Experts are of the opinion that marketing in today’s business environment is even more important than the business itself. Considering the returns that it brings about through the Internet in particular, one needs to set apart a lump sum amount for the marketing purpose in particular. Also, designing a precise marketing strategy with the help of experts will be beneficial for your company. An important aspect of promotions, publicity campaigns, etc. is to find a catchphrase or jingle that would catch the attention of customers. Slowly and steadily, the product will zoom itself to become a formidable brand in its own right, provided that the quality of the product is commendable. The catchphrase should sum up what exactly the product is all about; in a precise yet profound way.

Calculating a gross margin is significant in case of legitimate work at home businesses, or for that matter, any business. You should always make it a point to maintain a relatively high gross margin. Filing a patent should also be a consideration in case of a new business, be it home business through the internet or the conventional ones. It will reduce the chances of any possible accusations, allegations, and disputes in future. Also, introducing a new idea to the market is always a way to boom or find a place for your business in this busy world. Working from home policy is also an attractive factor for many of the new business as it can reduce considerable amount of costs in transportation. Setting up a formal office can create a big hole in your wallet. The best way to fetch easy work from home businesses is by setting up a home office. Also, the right insurance policy is essential for your company.

In today’s times, there are millions of ways to make money online. But, it is up to the budding entrepreneurs amongst us to capitalize on the right market, invest on the correct product and services, focus of the specific target customers and cajole investors who dare enough to shell out money on us. If you play the ‘getting it right’ game well, then it is certain that you and your business are going to be epic successes!

Start-Up a Business by Buying a Business – ‘Real Life’ Practical Advice Shared

This is a quote from Ray Thomas who started his own business by buying an existing one. He chose to buy a franchise resale for reasons you are about to learn. These are his first wise words of advice and ones that are valuable to anyone thinking of buying a business as a way to start their own business, whether in the UK, North America or anywhere in the world.

“When buying a business, check and recheck your ‘due diligence’ there’s always something that you miss, something that’s not obviously apparent when you first start negotiations – don’t rush -take your time to understand the business you’re buying into”

Ray was very careful in his choice of business. He took the buying process step by step over a number of months. He would like to share this experience, captured in these key points with you.

• Choose a business that relates to your commercial experience and your own business skills
• Buying a franchise resale has a number of benefits. Two of these are the training and support you’ll receive from the franchisor; another is acquiring a going concern with an existing customer base
• Get the latest trading figures to see how the business is performing and whether any circumstances have changed since the business was valued for sale.
• Check the customer base to check the number of active and dormant accounts
• Examine the customer profile to see how the business is spread between accounts – if the business is reliant on one or two accounts, the loss of these accounts could dramatically damage your future income.
• If possible, agree a hand-over period in which the previous owner introduces you to the client base and explains the ‘back-office’ systems and day-to-day running of the business.
• Make a generous provision for working capital to cover running costs – and keep an extra financial contingency for the unexpected.

To understand Ray’s story here’s some interesting background. Ray trained as a mechanical engineer. This gave him a career long ability to discipline his thinking and develop his analytical and organisational abilities. His outgoing personality and communication skills came into play as he moved into sales. Over time, he became a regional manager with a multinational company, firstly looking after the South West then extended his territory responsibility across to Wales and up as far as Birmingham.

As demands increased without a commensurate increase in his salary package, Ray started to explore opportunities where he and his family would receive a greater return for his efforts by becoming his own boss. He investigated a number of different business avenues and narrowed the options down to franchising. The question was whether to start from scratch with a ‘virgin’ franchise territory or to buy an existing operation. The other question was which franchise to select

As Ray had experience of the motor trade, at one time being the sales manager of a chain of car dealerships, he examined a franchise involved with supplying garage workshops with tools and another specialising in bodywork repairs. He also explored franchises that were related to his more recent experience in the Health & Safety and Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) sector. Finally he chose a business-to-business (B2B) franchise that specialises in the supply and servicing of cleaning and hygiene products.

The franchise head office volunteered two start-up territories within reach of his Swindon base, and one resale franchise in Swindon his home town. Buying a resale franchise meant a higher investment but gave him a fully functioning business with an established clientele and an established reputation.

The Purchase Negotiation

Ray contacted the existing franchisee and spent a day with him to find out more about his territory and customers. The franchisee wanted the business to be transferred to someone who would manage the business well and look after his existing customer base. He’d decided to emigrate to France as part of his own life plan.

On closer inspection Ray saw the business had been losing sales and turnover had slumped in the last year. Another worrying aspect came to light. One customer was responsible for 50% of sales. If that customer withdrew his business the whole financial picture would change dramatically. These important factors demanded a revaluation and price renegotiation.

A revised price was agreed and on 26th April 2010 at the age of 60, Ray Thomas became a business owner. A new, exciting but challenging chapter in his life had begun.

Looking back, Ray would like to share these thoughts with you:

• Put away those rose-tinted glasses when buying a business. They’re always things that are not immediately evident when first learning about a business, not because they’ve been deliberately hidden but more to do with your unfamiliarity with the business operation.

• Try to identify the pitfalls – get expert help to review the company’s trading record and customer base.

• Examine in fine detail the basis of any ‘goodwill’ attributed to the company. Remember that ‘people buy people’. It’s potentially dangerous to buy a business that has been built mainly on the ‘personality’ of the incumbent owner. When the business changes hands, customers may not want to keep their business with you.

• Never rest on your laurels. Look for new business every day. It is inevitable that for one reason or other you’ll lose customers. You need to bring in fresh business to compensate for business lost.

• Make sure you ‘over-deliver’ on the quality of service you provide. You may not be able to compete on price these days – but an attentive, professional service not only wins business but builds customer loyalty. You’ve heard the saying that some people ‘know the price of everything but the value of nothing’. Due to cost pressures customers do switch to get a better financial deal but often return when they realise they’ve forfeited quality, reliability and product performance.

• Create a financial buffer to fund unexpected costs. For us, the rise in diesel prices has hit our van delivery costs. Unexpected events are another reason why you should grow your sales from existing customers and put time aside to contact and win new customers.

‘Success before Start-Up’ is a book everyone should read before starting their own business. It contains valuable advice from 18 different small business covering many of the most popular business options, from franchising to opening a retail shop, to offering trade or professional services or buying an existing business. The helpful advice is designed to stop you making the mistakes that cripple a new business given by people who want to share their experiences. The advice is relevant to any business wherever you are in the world as the principles are the same. The book is written in an easy to understand style. Importantly, the author has experience of setting up and running his own small business and speaks from experience – rather than just academic theory. Success before Start-Up is available from Amazon in paperback and Kindle.

Your Business Has Growth Potential, So Take It to Your Customers, Market It!

Gone are the days where a good product or service sells itself. Yes, one could argue that its not completely gone, but relying on this method will keep your business small, in fact you might be kicked out of business from fierce competitor. That is why marketing has become an essential part of sustaining and growing businesses in today’s world. Many people dislike selling, in fact; I personally do not enjoy selling. But if you enjoy what you do and know can see its impact in the lives of others, you will get off your backside with joy and go out there telling everyone about your business.

So if marketing is very important and every businessperson is doing it, how can one increase their chances of generating effective leads through marketing?

Talk to more people daily about the solutions you provide –

Don’t talk about what you do, but how your product/service solves a problem. Starting is always a daunting process, but remember as your do it daily, it gets easier and becomes more productive. So you can start with a small but targeted number of potential customers/Clients. For example, your end target may be to talk to at least 100 people everyday; you can start with 15 people, then increase or exceed your target number, as you get better. The more people you talk to about the help your business provides, the greater your chances of getting more clients.

Attend as many business and networking events as possible –

You should attend good and targeted networking events; or you can organize your own-targeted networking events. Business is about building relationships, networks and trust. People will most likely do business with someone they know and trust, and will also recommend their friends to your business due to the relationship they have built with you. Nonetheless, you should use your time wisely, so plan your week effective and make sure that attending networking events do not affect providing an efficient and timely product/service to your present client, because good service means repeat business. Therefore, plan to attend events during your idle/less busy hours and work at your busy hours. Keep it balanced!

Don’t spam people with selling –

I used to be part of many small business groups on Facebook, but have recently removed myself from these groups because of the constant selling. I know the owners/administrators of these group must have set up the groups for like-minded business people to network, post questions and share advice of everyday business issues, however, other members have messed it up with constant spamming. They don’t contribute, but just advertise and sell their products/services. The truth is, no one wants to be sold to all the time. So please build genuine business relationships, be a listener. When you attend business events, talk less about yourself business, rather ask questions. The good thing about asking questions is that it helps you understand the need of the individual and if you provide products/services that can help reduce or eliminate the problem, you stand a better chance of giving them that information and thus increasing your chances of a business relationship which then result in the individual buying your product or service. You also get word-of-mouth referrals via this medium.

Use free listing websites and cheap paid advertising –

There are free listing websites or cheap paid websites when you can advertise your business. i.e. Craigslist and you will get the information required. Remember to only advertise solutions; don’t waffle all about your business, because your potential client is not looking to be impressed, but is looking for a product or service that will solve a problem or enhance productivity.

Use social media avenue to market your business –

Technologies have changed the way we do business today. The arrival of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube etc. Has made business a lot easier and marketing cheaper. Using these mediums to advertise your business is a cheap way of getting leads, but don’t get carried away with the time spent on each platform. You must analyse your potential market and what platform they are mostly likely to be on and spend time there to market your business. Remember, no spamming, Build relationships, which then leads to business. If your potential customers are more on Facebook than twitter, then use more of Facebook and set the number of hours each day you will spend on each platform and try to measure the returns from each platform. I know this can sometimes be difficult, but getting these stats can help you strategically plan for your social media marketing and improve productivity. Remember, you can always outsource, if you lack time to do social media marketing yourself.

Join offline business groups and online business forums –

Offline business groups like Chamber of Commerce, Marketing consultant London group, small business groups, BNI etc. can help your business grow through referrals and networking. Joining online business forums give you a platform to network, participate in discussion, give advice and be known. As you continuously participate and provide advice, people in the group will see you as the expert and come to you when they need advice and most times, they will click on your profile to know more about you. As they do this, there is a greater chance of them clicking to your website and as you know the more visit to your website the more clients/customers you are likely to get. So when providing advice, know your subject very well and be clear and concise.

Contact Organisations about speaking at events –

Speaking at events give you more exposure. So browse through your local community website and check for upcoming events; call and ask to speak for free in some of the events. As you do free speaking at events and get known in your business, with time, you will be contacted for paid speaking. Remember when you speak at events; don’t sell your products/services on stage, else you lose your audience. You need to research your topic, be prepared to deliver the speech like your life depended on it and once you can capture the audience; they will come asking for your business details and how you can help them backstage at the close of event.

These are my few marketing tips for small businesses; larger corporation will use radio, TV & billboard advertising. But never mind, as your business grows, you will have sufficient funds to do large-scale advertising, but in the meantime don’t waste money on marketing, only do cost-effective marketing. But don’t stop marketing because that is the channel for business growth. All the best!!!